- the orange and black beaded bracelet that Rugi picked up from the dirt and gave to me
- the orange and black beaded bracelet that Tulai slid off her own wrist and onto mine because it matched
- two of the blue beaded bracelets that came in a set of twelve I bought one morning at the Sunday market from the woman who also sells blue laundry detergent and handmade soap
- the multi-colored beaded bracelet one of the vendors in the Banjul market gave me as a gift because anyone I bought anything from was giving me a gift
- the "silver" bracelet I bought from the Bakau craft market the same day I touched a full-grown crocodile
And finally, two weeks ago, my dedicated bracelet-wearing paid off. Someone recognized me as Having Lived in Africa and we struck up a conversation.
I am part of the crowd being squeezed from the Omniplex Theater at the Boston Museum of Science. A woman taps me on the shoulder. "Excuse me, did you get that bracelet in Africa?" I turn around, surprised. "Yes."
"My daughter noticed it," she says, indicating one of the two girls standing next to her, "and thought it looked African because their father is from Mali."
"Yes, I got these in The Gambia. I was a Peace Corps volunteer there."
Turns out the mother had been a Peace Corps volunteer too, once. In Mali. So we talked about our work as volunteers and about the unrest in Mali (her husband is in Mali now) and then the crowd loosened up and the mother and her daughters went to look at the Mammoths and Mastadons exhibit, probably, but we'd already seen that so I danced down the musical stairs instead.